People are often introduced to tapioca in desserts or in “bubble tea”. For most people, the first time trying these chewy little pearls is an odd experience, but tapioca is so much more than a semi-exotic addition to your meal – it is actually quite good for you and packs a nutritional punch that can boost your overall health considerably.
What is Tapioca?
Tapioca is a purified starch extracted from the cassava root. It is native to the northern region of Brazil, but can now be found all over South America, and in the rest of the world. It has been a staple food in South America for thousands of years and has become quite popular in Asia and Africa as well.
Health Benefits of Tapioca
1. Increases energy levels
A pure starch, tapioca is highly caloric, making it a perfect choice of food before or after a workout. Additionally, if you notice that your energy levels drop long before the day ends, it’s often a sign that you did not consume enough carbohydrates during the day. Tapioca, being a pure starch, is considered a complex carbohydrate, making it a great way to maintain energy levels throughout the day.
2. Better digestion
Adding tapioca to your diet will do wonders for your digestion, thanks to its high level of dietary fiber. It helps move food through your digestive tract, which alleviates gas problems, including bloating and flatulence, prevents constipation and intestinal pain, and even reduces the risk of colon cancer. Furthermore, the dietary fiber scrapes bad cholesterol off of the arterial walls, reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
3. Improved circulation
Tapioca contains plenty of iron, which is an essential mineral in the human body since it has a vital role in forming red blood cells. Eating tapioca increases the production of blood cells, preventing anemia, and improving oxygen flow to the body, keeping it in peak condition.
4. Stronger bones
Tapioca contains iron and calcium – both are essential in the protection and development of bones in the body. As bone density decreases with age, adding tapioca to your diet will help your body regain density once more, preventing osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and reduced flexibility.
5. Healthy weight gain
Thanks to the high levels of complex carbohydrates in tapioca, it can be used by people who are underweight gain muscle mass and bodyweight quickly - One cup of tapioca contains 45% of the daily carbohydrate requirements, and contains no saturated fats or cholesterol, making it the perfect choice.
6. Metabolic benefits
While not rich in protein, tapioca is still a good source to get it. Protein is absolutely necessary for a healthy diet, as it has a vital role in building muscles, healing, blood production and even breathing.
A Word of Warning
While the tapioca you buy in the store is perfectly harmless, the root it is made of – cassava can be toxic if consumed raw or without adequate preparation. In its natural form, cassava contains cyanide, which is highly poisonous to humans.
Another warning is for people who are trying to lose weight since it is so highly caloric. Remember: if you’re on a diet – tapioca is not your friend.
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